Sunday Bookends (on Monday): Good music, scary or depressing movies, books about chefs and summer activities

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing, and listening to.

I didn’t finish this in time for a Sunday posting, which is why it’s being posted on Monday instead. Obviously. *wink*

What I/we’ve Been Reading

I have been reading but quite slowly. I was rotating between three books and I still haven’t finished one of them so this week I am going to focus on Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and when that is finished I am going to finish The Heart of the Mountain by  Pepper Basham and then I will go back to Anne of the Island from the Anne of Green Gables series.  The Heart of the Mountain is the first book I’ve read by Basham and I am enjoying it. So far it’s not a cliché Christian fiction romance and I am grateful for that. It releases on July 1.

A description for those who are curious about it:

Can True Love Weather a World of Differences?

To escape marriage, Cora Taylor runs away from her home in England to join her brother in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but not even her time as a nurse in the Great War prepares her for the hard landscape and even harder lives of the mountain people. With the help of Jeb McAdams, a quiet woodcarver, who carries his own battle scars, she fashions a place for herself among these unique people. But the past refuses to let go, and with dangers from within and without, can hearts bruised by war find healing within the wilds of the mountains?

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly is the book that blew Bourdain into stardom and details his journey working at the lowest levels in kitchens up to the big time. If you don’t know who Bourdain is, then you really missed out (though you didn’t miss out on his potty mouth. *wink* He was known to be a bit crass, crude, and rude at times, but he was also a brilliant writer and food connoisseur. So warning: there is swearing in this book but not constant swearing ).

 He was a chef who became famous when he traveled the world for the Travel Channel tasting and discussing food from countries all over the world, all while giving the viewers a bit of history and culture lessons during each episode.

A description of Kitchen Confidential for the curious:

Anthony Bourdain, host of Parts Unknown, reveals “twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine” in his breakout New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential.

Bourdain spares no one’s appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same “take-no-prisoners” attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From Bourdain’s first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as dishwasher in a honky tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown (where he witnesses for the first time the real delights of being a chef); from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the east village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again, Bourdain’s tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable.

Kitchen Confidential will make your mouth water while your belly aches with laughter. You’ll beg the chef for more, please.

Bourdain committed suicide in 2018. My family and I had been watching his show for years. When we heard the news it was like losing a friend. A foul-mouthed, jokester, who loved life so much you couldn’t believe he’d choose to end it type of friend. Many of his shows are available on a variety of streaming services and I highly recommend them. If you are sensitive to seeing animals killed or hearing course language, maybe avoid them, but neither of those items are consistently present in his earlier shows and are present more, but still not constant, on his show that ran on CNN a few years before he passed away.

This is my first time reading a book by him. It is the first of several he wrote, including a couple novels.

The Husband is reading Fade Away by Harlan Coben.

What’s Been Occurring

Little Miss has been excited to jump on our neighbor’s trampoline but has been sorely disappointed that Mom and Dad won’t jump with her. Big brother isn’t that interested either and her friends from Texas are now gone home so she had to be content with jumping for us instead of with us.

We spent a few nights last week up the hill on the trampoline, me reading a book or watching her while she jumped.

Our roses are still blooming which has been so exciting for me. I can’t remember if they bloomed this long last year or not and I figure we will lose most of them this week or next so I am simply enjoying them while I can.

The Husband is on vacation this week, but we don’t have any big plans. We are going to visit a couple of local state parks and hopefully go on a train ride near us and spend time with my parents.

Yesterday we kicked off The Husband’s week with a cookout with my parents and jumped in the pool for the first time after my son and dad worked hard to clean it out.

What We watched/are Watching

I watched a rerun of the K-Love Fan Awards early in the week.

The link to the entire show can be found here:

My favorite performances included:

TobyMac Promised Land (made even more powerful to me since Toby lost his son to suicide two years ago)

Phil Wickham House of the Lord (such a fun and worshipful performance. He’s fairly new to me as of this year, but I’m enjoying his music):

CeCe Winans and Lauren Daigle, I Believe For It (two Christian powerhouse singers):

Katy Nicole, In Jesus Name (God of Possible). This one just broke me down pretty hard for various reasons. It was the first time I heard it. Powerful stuff.

I also loved when Matthew West won for best male vocalist of the year. You can tell he had no idea. He was floored, emotional, and he just deserved it. I love following him on social media, his music and listening to his podcast. He’s just a sweet man and we need to be praying for his heart and that he can continue to impact the world for Christ.

This week I watched Streetcar Named Desire for the first time at the suggestion of Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs. She and I will be watching classic movies we suggest for each other this summer. I have been rubbing my hands together at this prospect because I am a huge fan of classic, or old, movies. I love picking out movies I enjoyed to share with others and I also love to receive suggestions from others.

I will give you my impression of Streetcar on Wednesday. I suggested Double Indemnity for Erin and she will be sharing her impressions of that movie on Wednesday as well.

Also this week I watched A Quite Place with The Boy, a movie I told him I would not watch because I hate horror-type movies. I finally caved in when Little Miss and The Husband had a day out on Saturday. It turns out this movie was different than other “horror” movies and was more of a psychological thriller. I was very impressed and enjoyed the storytelling of it. The Boy and I both feel that the movie should have stood for itself and there was no need for A Quiet Place 2 but The Boy, who has already seen that movie as well, said that he actually enjoyed A Quiet Place 2 and jumped more during that movie than the first one. I told The Boy I would watch the second movie with him sometime soon. The key for movies like these are finding a time Little Miss won’t be in the room with us. Obviously, I’m not letting her watch these types of movies with us at the tender age of seven.

The Husband and I finished Why Didn’t They Ask Evans, which was a three-part miniseries based on an Agatha Christie book and directed by Hugh Laurie. It was very good. I would have liked some more Emma Thompson, but you can’t have everything.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been working some on The Shores of Mercy and hope to be more strict about carving out writing times to work on it next week.

I shared two posts on the blog this week in addition to Chapter 8 of The Shores of Mercy (which is being called Mercy’s Shore on here):

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Five uplifting, sing-along worship songs you need to listen to today

It’s Monday and they are often a drag for many of us so today I am sharing five uplifting, sing-along worship songs for you to put on and sing at the top of your lungs. You should also be able to find these songs on Apple or Amazon music, Spotify, or wherever you download your music.

Lion with Brandon Lake and Elevation Worship.

Brandon Lake and Tasha Cobbs
Revival Anthem by Rend Collective
Chris Tomlin, God’s Great Dance Floor

A classic:

Maranatha Worship

And a bonus:
The Queen of worship:

CeCe Winans and Michael W. Smith

Realizing TobyMac’s music has been like a soundtrack to my life

I ended up in a TobyMac YouTube spiral Sunday and it was amazing. It was the most relaxed and at home I had felt in awhile. It fit in perfectly with my social media detox (full disclosure – I have popped on Facebook once or twice to ask a couple questions in groups I am in and I went on Instagram to apologize to two authors for not yet reviewing their books after they had agreed to review mine. I have not, however “scrolled” any timelines and that’s been so refreshing! Oh wait – I briefly scrolled my dad’s timeline while I was eating some lunch at their house but was so horrified with the nastiness there I quickly remembered my detox and closed the iPad cover.)

Back to the real reason for this blog post: For those of you who don’t know who TobyMac is, he is a Christian rapper/singer/musician who originally started out with the Christian rockish/rap/pop band D.C. Talk.

As I listened to all those TobyMac songs Sunday a thought hit me – Toby’s music has been the soundtrack of my life since junior high school. His music has been there through the highs and the lows. It’s lifted me when I’ve been down or kept me up when I was already joyful.

I first discovered Toby around 1990 DC Talk and the album Nu Thang. I picked it up (a cassette! Gasp!) at the Christian bookstore at the local mall (two things we don’t have many of anymore) and popped it into my walkman (yes, I am that old). I listened to it the entire hour and a half drive back to our house (yes, we lived that far away from a mall). I ended up being able to catch DC Talk in concert with Michael W. Smith in Hershey, Pa. a year or so later. We were behind the stage and everything was pretty loud, but it was still a cool experience.

I was able to see DC Talk again at Creation, a Christian music festival in Pennsylvania, somewhere around 1995 when their album Jesus Freak came out.

Eventually the band took an extended hiatus and during that time TobyMac started a successful solo career. I have picked up everyone of his albums and I have liked almost every song on every single one of those albums. You know how you sometimes by an album and you think “I like all these songs except … that one.” Well, with Toby I don’t have a “that one.”

Last year his fans mourned with him when his oldest son, Truett, passed away due to a drug overdose. His son had been appearing on his albums in short vignettes or even songs since TruDog (his nickname) was about three years old. We fans were very familiar with him and in some odd way we felt like he was part of our family too.

He was 21 when he died, another victim of drug abuse in this country, which I know broke Toby’s heart. He tried so hard to bring his son back into the fold of his earthly family and the fold of Christ’s family. His broken heart was even more evident in a song he released after Truet’s funeral and in a song called The Real You that he released in an album called The Lost Demos this summer. He wrote The Real You for Truett before he died.

Most of Toby’s music is uplifting and upbeat and definitely energetic, even when he’s dealing with tough subjects.

Because I think you need to hear some positive music right now, I’m sharing some of my favorite TobyMac songs for you to listen to. Just click on one song and Youtube will do the rest and send you down a fun, spiraling path of his music. Maybe you need an encouraging word this week or maybe you simply need a song with a good beat. Either way, Toby has it for you.

*Disclaimer: I have not been compensated by TobyMac or anyone from his management. This post was written of my own free will. *wink* However, if anyone from Toby’s team ever sees this post and wants to send me some merch, I’ll take a couple T-shirt’s, one of Toby’s cool hats for my son and a pair of his cool sunglasses for me. Ha!

Remembering Truett

I have been listening to TobyMac in one form or another since the early 1990s.

His son Truett was on a couple of his albums and when I heard Truett had died recently, I was completely shocked, as many TobyMac fans were. I still don’t know the details around Truett’s death, but I can’t imagine the pain Toby is in. He released a song about his struggles dealing with his oldest son’s death this week. I thought I’d share it here and follow it with a couple of happier songs from TobyMac, in case you aren’t familiar with him.

Toby is part of the Christian rock group DC Talk, which was huge in the 2000s and then when the band parted ways, he started his own solo career.

And some old school for ya’…